Brian McEleney directs Adrian Hall's stage adaptation of Robert Penn Warren's novel that began previews Sept. 14 at the Dowling Theater in Providence, RI. The production — which features music by Randy Newman — officially opened Sept. 19 for a run through Oct. 21. Now, "due to popular demand," the work will play through Oct. 28.
Penned by author Warren in 1946, the story of All the King's Men follows "Willie Stark, [who] rises from poverty to become the governor of his state and its most powerful political figure," according to press materials. "He blackmails and bullies his enemies into submission, and institutes a radical series of liberal reforms designed to tax the rich and ease the burden of the state's poor farmers. Stark's transformation from an idealistic man of the people to a corrupt politician lusting for power is seen through the eyes of a young writer, Jack Burden."
The 1930s-set Deep South drama won Warren the Pulitzer Prize in 1947. Trinity Rep first staged Hall's adaptation in 1987. (Hall was a founder and former artistic director of the company.)
Mauro Hantman (Cyrano de Bergerac, Cherry Orchard) stars as Jack Burden with Joe Wilson, Jr. (Cherry Orchard, The Fantasticks) as Willie Stark. Of his choice of casting African-American actor Wilson Jr. as the Southern Governor, director McEleney said in a previous statement, "Of course, there could never have been an African American politician of Stark's stature at that time. However, the play shows us how politics affects people without money, class or station. It's even more intriguing to talk about those issues when race is part of the conversation."
Also featured in the cast are actors and musicians Stephen Berenson, Angela Brazil, Janice Duclos, Phyllis Kay, Mauro Hantman, Barbara Meek, Anne Scurria, Stephen Thorne, Kevin Fallon, Charlie Hudson III, David Tessier and Fred Sullivan, Jr. Brown. Trinity Rep Consortium student actors Kelby Akin, Jill Knox, Alan McNaney, Scott Raker and Jessa Sherman round out the ensemble. The design team includes Michael McGarty (set), William Lane (costumes), John Ambrosone (lighting) and Peter Sasha Hurowitz (sound). The production also features music by Randy Newman. David Tessier serves as musical director. Barbara Reo is stage manager.
For tickets to All the King's Men at Trinity Rep, 201 Washington Street, in Providence, RI, call (401) 351-4242 or visit trinityrep.com.